Raspberry Pi 3, now in Compute Module format

January 16, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Targeting embedded systems designers developing industrial applications, the Raspberry Pi organisation has taken the core compute elements of the 3rd generation Pi (with quad-core processing power), and put that into the SO-DIMM card footprint pioneered by the original Compute Module.

Distributor RS Components (RS) and Allied Electronics, (Electrocomponents) are building the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) based based on the Raspberry Pi 3 architecture. Designed for professional engineers to develop embedded systems, the new Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module (CM3) fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM socket and provides the same basic processing capabilities as the Raspberry Pi 3.


RS’ Rob Maycroft, product manager for Raspberry Pi, comments on the continuing “huge” growth of the Pi product line, and relates it to the wider trend to ope-source software, plus off-the-shelf hardware; “80% of new embedded designs [in the immediate future] will start with a modular board-level product.”


In common with the Raspberry Pi 3, CM3 incorporates a 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 application processor, built around an ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor running at up to 1.2 GHz, and 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM. It provides 4 GB of on-board eMMC Flash storage, and retains an identical pin-out to the original Compute Module (CM1). It has almost the same profile, with an identical footprint that is 1 mm deeper (thicker) than the original CM.


Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton remarks that the CM3 has been in development since the ‘Pi 3’ was introduced early in 2016; in common with the upgrade that the Pi 3 represented, it has around 10x more processing power than the original CM. Upton earlier said of the Pi 3 that it took the board into being a “real computer” - in contrast to its orginal STEM aspirations, and same shift in capability is true of the CM3.


RS and Allied are stocking the new low-cost Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module Lite (CM3L). This includes the BCM2837 application processor and 1 GB RAM, but has no on-board Flash storage. Developers can provide an eMMC device or SD card socket on their application-specific base board. Upton adds that there is considerable demand for the non-flash